A living musuem - the entire town has been declared a national Monument - taking the visitors to the day of old Transvaal Gold Rush.

Pilgrim's Rest was declared a gold field in 1873, soon after digger Alec "Wheelbarrow" Patterson had found gold deposits in Pilgrim's Creek. The Valley proved to be rich in gold and by the end of the year, there where about 1500 diggers working in the area.

As a result, Pilgrim's Rest became a social center of the diggings.

Mining was active until 1971 when Beta Mine was closed down. Tranvaal Gold Mining Estates opened again in 1999 and there is active gold mining in the hills around Pilgrim's Rest

Mac - Mac Diggings

A number of insignificant gold deposits were discovered in the northern parts of South Africa between 1840 and 1870.  But the first gold rush in South Africa took place in 1873 when payable gold was discovered on the farm Geelhoutboom near the town of Sabie (5km from Pilgrim's Rest - as the crow flies).  President Burgers, who visited the site, officially named the area the New Caledonian Gold Fields, but he jokingly referred to it as "MacMac" and the name stuck.  Everyone referred to it as the MacMac Diggings.

Wheelbarrow Patterson

One of the diggers, Alec "Wheelbarrow" Patterson, left the crowded MacMac diggings and went off on his own to explore new territory.  Alec earned the nickname "Wheelbarrow" when he arrived at the MacMac diggings, pushing a wheelbarrow with all his belongings in it.  He got rid of his donkey after it kicked him and he then decided that pushing a wheelbarrow was a less painful and a more technologically advanced mode of transport. He pushed his wheelbarrow all the way from the Cape - a distance of some 1,600 km